Ok this site was starting to get a little dusty so its time to push forward again with some fresh new content. We are starting off with my return to Cars And Coffee Irvine last weekend. In all honesty I just visited to get a little extra shooting time in before I headed off to the Formula Drift Tech Day AKA Source Interlink casting call. However, I lucked out in the fact that it just so happened that Porsche decided to bring a genuine production-spec 918 Spyder to the event! News of the Spyder’s appearance brought out many of my industry friends and colleagues like Jon Sibal, Bisi of Bisimoto engineering, and even my old friend and mentor Craig Lieberman! In fact, I ran into so many people that I haven’t seen in a long time that I actually didn’t take as many pictures as I wanted! But I have a healthy bunch of photos below. Enjoy!
Ever wonder what its like to take a lap around the legendary Sepang circuit? What about taking a lap around Sepang in a purpose built go-fasty-fast Ferrari 458 Challenge EVO? I wonder that too! Although its unlikely (for me anyway) that such an experience will ever happen. However, we can at least know what it would look like thanks to Ferrari posting this video on their YouTube channel. Scroll down and take a ride with driver Paul Van Lohenhout as he hits every apex Sepang has to offer!
It really sucks to come back from our little break with bad news but in case any of you F1 fans have not heard yet, 7 time Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher is currently in a medically induced coma after hitting his head in a skiing accident while in France.
He was on an unmarked ski slope with his 14 year old son when he lost control and hit his head against a rock. Michael was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident but the impact was still great enough to cause significant damage. Although it was reported that when ambulance was air lifting Schumacher to the hospital he was awake but dazed. Upon reaching the hospital doctors felt it was best to medically put Michael into a coma so they could work on stopping any bleeding and/or swelling of his brain.
As of now Michael is in continuous care and his condition has been described as “life threatening” and his future at this point is uncertain. The full extent of his injuries are still unknown but racing fans all over the world including myself are all hoping that Schumacher comes out of this ordeal OK.
I will try to report any new developments on this as they become available.
Our thoughts are with the Schumacher family as well as Michael’s close friends at this difficult time.
UPDATE 1-2-14: According to a report today from NBC World news Schumacher’s condition has gotten “slightly” better according to the specialists working on him. He is currently “stable” but still “critical” however there was a “window of opportunity” for surgeons to remove a few major blood clots from Michael’s brain. He also remains in a medically induced coma while also having his body temperature carefully regulated to help reduce brain swelling. His team of doctors recently held a news conference in which the situation was explained in a bit more detail. You can watch the NBC report below.
Unfortunately, there are many car lovers out there who will probably never get to own amazing cars like the Ferrari 458, the Lamborghini Gallardo, the Porsche 911 turbo, or a Nissan GT-R. If I had my way everyone in the world would be able to have one of these cars in their driveway, but alas such a thing is not possible (not yet anyway).
Although there is another way… What if I told you that you could drive six-figure exotic supercars, on a race track no less? Well thanks to Exotics Racing such a thing is in fact possible. I know since I got to pay them a visit at something of a soft opening at their new location at Auto Club Speedway (AKA California Speedway). Exotics Racing is essentially every car nut’s dream come true. Imagine showing up at a race track with a fleet of top-end super cars parked in front of you. Then, a professional driving instructor approaches you and walks you to any of the cars you’d like then coaches you through several laps at full tilt? In a nutshell that is the reality of Exotics Racing. All you need to do is show up, pick a driving package and then you are off!
Well, there are a few formalities. After you choose from a range of driving packages that includes everything from laps in any car you want to ride longs, and even drift car ride alongs, you join a group for a short “in class” instruction session in which the teacher (a professional driver) will talk about the fundamentals of how to drive a supercar, how to drive a supercar fast, and how not to crash said super car.
After the class session the group is split up into smaller groups and taken out in a pair of Porsche Cayennes to take an “introduction lap”. This is pretty much the equivalent to a “track walk”. During the introduction lap the instructor will point out all the nuances of the track, covering breaking points, driving line, etc. All of this is an effort to get the drivers more accustomed to the course.
From there, you just wait for your name to be called by a driving instructor and you are then escorted to the car of your choice for several laps of awesome! The really cool part is there are add-ons to help you document your experience the best of which is a video package. Each car comes equipped with several cameras and track GPS to capture what’s going on outside and inside and it records the entire experience. For an extra fee drivers can have their videos edited and given to them on DVD or data disc so they can upload their laps to YouTube, Facebook etc. Trust me, you will want to do this should you pay Exotics Racing a visit.
Although I’d have to say one of the coolest things I saw in my visit was Tony’s driving experience. Who’s Tony? Tony is a great guy who is a huge sports car enthusiast and also happens to be confined to a wheelchair. Despite being in a wheel chair Tony is a avid driver thanks to the advent of special hand controls that Tony can use for the throttle and brake. Exotics Racing is as far as I know, the only service of its kind to offer hand controls for participants who use wheelchairs. And since the hand controls are removable, wheelchair participants still have a healthy choice of supercars to choose from. Tony chose the black Ferrari F430 Scuderia…an excellent choice if I’d say so myself!
If you are in California or Las Vegas (their two locations) I would highly recommend checking out Exotics Racing for yourself. Its well worth the price for experience provided! If you want to try it out for yourself visit ExoticsRacing.com to book a day!
Maserati has been the closest thing to having Ferrari at the LA Auto Show since, well Ferrari stopped showing up (hopefully they will come back soon!) so for Italian car fans the Maserati booth has been a must-see even though its been a while since they brought anything new; until this year.
This year not only does Maserati have something new but they also pretty much announced to the world that they are aiming for a slice of the Luxury sedan pie that BMW, Mercedes, Audi, and Lexus have been enjoying for years. So what is this new weapon that they are aiming at “ze Germans”? Maserati calls it the Ghibli (pronounced Gib-Lee and not Gibby).
The Ghibli is a brand new “full size luxury sedan” from Maserati that will fit in just under the new Quattroporte. The Ghibli is physically a bit smaller than the Quattroporte but still offers many of the same luxuries. The Ghibli (which means “desert wind”) is also meant to be more “sporty” than its larger older sibling as well.
It will weigh less and will be powered by a 3.0 liter twin-turbo V6 built in the same Maranello plant that Ferrari builds their engines in. There will be three versions of the engine available: two versions of the twin-turbo V6 (the base with 345hp and the “S” with 404hp) and a diesel V6 although no performance numbers have been released on the diesel engine.
Although easily the most impressive number from the Ghibli is its price: $65,000 MSRP. For the same money that someone could have a BMW 550i, Mercedes E550 4Matic, or an Audi A7 that same person could get an Italian luxury sedan with a twin-turbo Ferrari-built engine. Now the question is will people actually pick the Italian offering over the Germans? Time will tell when the Ghibli hits North America.
Along with the Ghibli Maserati also brought their current Gran Turismo S and the new Quattroporte as if drooling over the Ghibli wasn’t enough. Although I have to say my favorite thing about the Maserati booth was the “wall of pistons”! Check it all out by clicking on the thumbnails!
It was the talk of the show before the show even started. As soon as the internet saw the words “Liberty Walk” and “Ferrari 458 Italia” together it just became one big waiting period before they could finally feast their eyes upon the final creation. Most thought that the car would not be seen before SEMA but that was hardly the case. Almost two weeks before the big show the Liberty Walk Ferrari was all over the place! And it was rightly so. I mean how could anyone expect to keep this much awesome contained for very long?
While other lucky individuals were happily instagramming and facebook-ing this car to their heart’s content, I had to wait my turn at SEMA when visiting the Nitto Tire booth. Which was totally fine with me! Even though I have a few pictures here (click the thumbnails for larger versions) I have to say that this car must be looked at up close to fully appreciate.
The funny part is I cannot completely explain what makes this car so fresh. The lines of the Liberty Walk wide fenders really do lend themselves nicely to the already sexy lines of the 458. But, there is something more. Something that I can’t quite put my finger on. Perhaps its the idea of the thing. The audacity, the sheer boldness of someone taking a brand new $250k Italian super car and cutting it up to add a widebody kit is something that is so jarring that it somehow shocks me into admiration.
Whether you like this aero design or not the principal behind this build is the very personification of what we all wish we could do. Buy any car we want, and do whatever we want to it because its what we want to do. It speaks of freedom, brashness, and carpe-ing all the diems we get our hands on.
The name “Liberty Walk” is starting to make a lot of sense now…
In just 10 days Xbox One will be released upon the world and all of us crazy kids can finally get our hands on Forza Motorsport 5. In anticipation, or maybe just to goad us further, Microsoft has released two new gameplay videos. One of the Lotus E21 F1 car taking a full lap around Yas Marina Circuit and another of the Audi R18 taking a lap of LeMans. Both videos will make you throw tantrums and ask “Why don’t I have Forza 5 now?! Waagghh!” Just me? Ok nevermind… Just watch the videos!
Not to be outdone by Gran Turismo 6′s epic trailer, Turn 10 Studios released their own launch trailer for Forza Motorsport 5 today which includes a huge reveal of the Lotus F1 car making an appearance in the game. Not sure if there will be other F1 cars in game since the Lotus car was the only one shown but it is a possibility. The trailer also includes a reveal of the Yas Marina Circuit which looks gorgeous!
In addition to releasing the trailer Turn 10 also announced some more info about the “Car Pass” program. Basically Car Pass is a way to buy the first 6 Forza 5 DLC packs (each including 10 cars) all at once at a slightly discounted rate. Today it was announced that the Car Pass will cost $49.99. To provide some incentive it was also revealed that the first DLC pack which will be released at launch will include LaFerrari! Yes, LaFerrari will be the “hero car” of the first Forza 5 DLC. We will have to wait until tomorrow to find out the other 9 cars that will be included in the LaFerrari DLC pack. For now check out the new launch trailer below.
Viva Italia! Vorsteiner is continuing their foray into the Italian supercar market with their latesttuning program for the Ferrari 458. Granted only a small percentage of those reading this actually have a Ferrari 458 but if you are one of the lucky few then you should be happy there are a few new carbon fiber goodies for your car!
The tuning program starts with a front add-on spoiler which is specifically made to work with the factory contours of the front end. Out back is a deck lid spoiler and a rear diffuser which raises the diffuser bridge ever so slightly for clearance. The extra space allowed the Vorsteiner designers to work in a vent to help pull away warm air from the exhaust. The rear diffuser design also includes housing for the rear fog lamp. As always the all the aero components are made from Vorsteiner’s signature pre-preg carbon fiber.
To really set things off, a set of monoblock-forged VS-110 wheels are available as an option for this package. The wheels are available in 20″ and 21″ sizes and come tailor made to retain the Ferrari center cap.
It all makes for a slick but subtle package. If only I had a Ferrari to put all this stuff on! If you happen to have a 458 just hit up your local Vorsteiner dealer to put in an order. Or just visit Vorsteiner.com to find a dealer in your area. For a better look, just click the thumbnails below for HD resolution pictures.
E3 2013 has officially come to a close but we still have lots of videos from all the new racing games that made their debut during the massive video game show. In this post we dig a little deeper into Need For Speed: Rivals. The trailers all looked great but what is the new Need For Speed game really about? What makes it different from the previous games? We were lucky enough to get some time with Need For Speed: Rivals creative director Craig Sullivan to find out what’s new in Rivals and the awesome new game mechanic that just might win you over. Check out the interview and new screenshots below!